Pardew focused on beating Swans

  • Last Updated: November 16 2012, 14:02 GMT

Alan Pardew has warned Newcastle's fans not to expect "champagne" football against Swansea as they attempt to grind out a precious victory.

Alan Pardew: Admits Magpies are struggling to find their fluency

The stylish, flowing game which characterised the Magpies' surge into the Premier League's top five last season was a distant memory on Sunday as Pardew's misfiring team slumped to a 1-0 home defeat by promoted West Ham.

The 51-year-old admitted he was at a loss to explain just why a team which oozed confidence and invention during the 2011-12 campaign is so laboured this time around.

He will settle for a victory on Saturday however it comes as he and his players attempt to rediscover their spark.

Pardew said: "We are all kind of looking at each other. We want to get firing, we want to score three or four goals and set the stadium alight.

"But it's not as simple as that, sometimes you have to graft your way through periods like this.

"I will be surprised if we go from West Ham to a real champagne performance. I think it will be something in-between - hopefully."

While Newcastle as a whole have not managed to hit the heights for much of the current campaign to date, French livewire Hatem Ben Arfa has been a notable exception.

The 25-year-old, whose stunning individual goal against Blackburn last season was this week short-listed for FIFA's Puskas Award, has turned in a series of high-octane performances littered with fleet-footed solo runs.

Pardew has been delighted with the France international's contribution and is hoping his enterprising approach to the game can help to inspire some of his team-mates.

He said: "Hatem has that special quality. But we know we mustn't lean on him too much, and sometimes we do a little bit.

"That's something we are looking to work on."

Pardew knows the task will not get any easier tomorrow with the Swans, who are currently only a point worse off than their hosts, looking to at least repeat their hard-fought draw at St James' Park last season.

He said: "It's a tough test for us because we are going to have a stadium that will expect us to win and Swansea keep the ball really well - like they did last year, they got a 0-0 here and it was a frustrating game for us.

"They defended very well, kept the ball and it's a difficult game.

"They are a well-run club, they have a basic principle that they want to stick to, a vision, and that's important for a football club, to know how you are going to play and what you want to do.

"They stick to it and the new manager has taken up from Brendan [Rodgers] and they have added a couple of real quality players, so they are a real problem team."

Newcastle made amends for their Tyneside stalemate with a 2-0 victory in South Wales in April, a win which arrived courtesy of a stunning double from striker Papiss Cisse.

Whether or not Cisse gets a chance to repeat the feat could lie with the Senegal Football Federation, who threaten to invoke FIFA's five-day rule to prevent the 27-year-old's participation after he did not report for their midweek friendly because of a back problem.

The Magpies were still waiting for news this afternoon with Pardew having already been deprived of the services Yohan Cabaye, Jonas Gutierrez and James Perch through injury and skipper Fabricio Coloccini through suspension.

Midfielder Cheick Tiote will return from his own ban, although he will miss Thursday night's Europa League clash with Maritimo after collecting a third yellow card in the competition.

Pardew said: "In all honesty, I'd like to play him in the next four games if I could, even though they are over 10 days because he is one of those players who likes to play.

"It brings out the natural ability in him and would improve his confidence.

"Saturday is a tough game for him to come back in, but he's a great player and we are looking forward to seeing him back out there."


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